I am a yoga teacher and speak pretty consistently while I am teaching. This is where I notice the most that multiple sclerosis is affecting my speech. I hear myself slurring, stumbling over words and the worst is when I cannot remember the word I want to say.
My husband claims I mumble and my kids laugh when I say the wrong word at random times.
According to The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation:
“Human speech ends with the mouth but starts with the brain. The lungs, vocal cords and tongue all play a role, as well as the lips, throat and jaw. That leaves several places along the way that speaking can get complicated when MS is involved.”
“When there is damage to the nerves that stimulate the muscles, they may not work as quickly or precisely,” according to Bonnie Schaude, outpatient speech pathologist at the MS Institute at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga.”
“Motor speech disorders, including those most commonly associated with MS, are called dysarthrias. Some dysarthrias can cause words to slur. A person’s speech might be slow. Vowel sounds could be distorted or speakers might have problems varying their tone. The speaking pattern that can result, particularly when there are long pauses between words or syllables, has its own term: scanning speech.”
One way to work to on improving these problem is speech therapy. As Healthline explains, “Speech therapists will evaluate your current speech patterns, the muscular control you have in your face, and your overall oral communication abilities… Once your symptoms have been diagnosed, you and the speech therapist will begin a course of treatment designed to help you improve your challenges.”
I sometimes avoid speaking by texting or emailing a friend instead of calling. I also find talking slowly helps my words to sound clearer.
How has MS affected your speech? Have you done therapy or found ways to improve slurring, stumbling or forgetting?